Three days: 33 shootings

NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 12/20/2012, 12:17 p.m.

"That was my man," said a devastated Dewedy. "He was my cousin and we stayed in the same house. I had to go tell the mother of his son what happened, and his son was looking for him behind me because we were always together. He was going to take [his son] out today, Father's Day. But [Rodgers'] mom had to come from Jersey at 12:30 to identify her son's body."

Two weeks ago, the AmNews published a story about Gov. Andrew Cuomo no longer funding the year-old Operation SNUG anti-violence initiative. He did not respond to a request this week regarding the call by some activists to reconsider his decision in the wake of the bloody weekend.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Speaker Christine Quinn also did not comment on the possibility of increased funding for citywide programs to tackle inner-city violence, nor did they address questions regarding youth programs, especially for the summer.

"The primary reason for the youth gang issue in certain parts of the city, Brooklyn in particular, is often times easy access to weapons," said Chief Philip Banks, head of the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau. "A few things have to be done to find a way to stop this easy access. Often times we will hear that gang violence is the issue, but the problem is the access to the guns."

Banks said that the city as a whole has to "continue to strengthen certain things, such as gun laws, and [stem] the easy access [to guns] from other states. We have to [explain to] all residents in the city that this is both unfortunate and unacceptable, and take certain measures to make sure that we all get more involved in the lives of these particular youths."

"I'm sick and tired of this madness," said Christopher Foye, whose 13-year-old son, Chris Owens, was killed by cross fire two years ago at a barbecue in Harlem. "You know the shooting is out of control when the victims get younger and everyone around the gunman is getting killed!" By setting up the Chris S. Owens Foundation, the anti-violence advocate said he is determined to find activities and events to keep young people occupied, from basketball tournaments to business workshops.

"This weekend's gun violence incident in ENY, which involved nine gunshot victims, with one confirmed dead, has further traumatized a community that has had more than its share of events like this," said Mitchell. "The blood of these young shooting victims are on the hands of all those who know very well that this issue has spiraled out of control into a epidemic and fail to do anything concrete about it. We, the grassroots leaders and organizations, have been consistently speaking out on this issue for far too long to no avail.

"Our city is in a state of emergency. Some of our city's neighborhoods and urban centers, like ENY, Coney Island, Crowns Heights, South Jamaica, Far Rockaway, Harlem and the South Bronx, resemble Iraq in the day and Afghanistan during the night."